Last week I did a retreat on Balance for UMW and I will be leading the same retreat next weekend for another UMW. The idea of the retreat grew out of a retreat I lead on "Becoming a Woman of Wisdom" where we did one workshop on balance and everyone said, "We need a whole retreat on this!" So I'm working towards a 3 day retreat!
Balance is hard. Balance is hard for anyone- and it has been a "growing edge" for me for a while now.
People seem to have a lot of assumptions about what balance means. At least I think they do... Balance is NOT status quo- Balance is not stagnet--
Balance is being held-
balance is having peace in the midst of turmoil-
Balance is living in Creation when there is chaos-
Balance is abiding--
Balance is assurance.
Recently when someone learned that I had done a retreat on balance they kind of chuckled and said, "That's ironic." It's not that I'm offended by this statement, rather its just that I think it represents the misperceptions we have about balance. I am Beth a child of God- I'm a mom, I'm a wife, I'm a pastor- I'm a sister and a friend. Being balanced means some days I lean more on one of those than the other. But what do I live in- stay in- what never changes- what is always constant- God- and me being a child of God. I will always be a Mom, wife, sister, friend too-- but I was made in the Image of God. I was baptized into the Body of Christ. Even when I stray, even when I fail- God does not. And when I am abiding in Christ, it will all come together.
I may spend a week doing all the great pastor stuff- maybe its a week of long meetings leading up to an event- maybe its a week with a funeral or wedding- or who knows? Some weeks I take vacation and I turn off my phone and if something happens at church I do not know about it...when my children are sick- the world stops for me until they are well. I have screened calls when I am spending quality time with my husband. I love my friends and I will stop whatever is going on to be with them, hold them and love them. I have a husband who is an amazing man--he is a complete and equal partner--when I have a heavy load, he helps me to carry it and vice versa.
We have a community of faith- who are part of the Body of Christ- a community that truly lives out how to abide in Christ - who helps us hold our load too. When we have been hungry they have provided meals, they provide childcare so that we may serve without worrying- in fact we serve knowing that our children's lives are filled with more people who love them! Kind people have helped me with mountains of laundry, housecleaning, and most importantly held me in prayer.
When I think of balance- I know Jesus. And I know that Jesus says, "Come to me all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest." Jesus says- lay it down at my feet- give it to me- I know that Jesus says that the load he gives is light. I think of the wisdom of Ecclesiastes I remember that to enjoy life- to really enjoy life and live in the Joy that makes us complete (John 15:11) it means to know there is a time for each and every thing under heaven. There is a season for everything- Sometimes we have multiple seasons within a year, a month, a week, even a day...
Some days I am wiping snotty noses, writing a sermon, cooking, cleaning, cuddling, and loving all in one day. Some days I am visiting the sick, refereeing conflict resolution, and giving time outs to a two year old- all in one day. But each day- I am rooted to Christ and I am rooted in to the Body of Christ and I am living into the completeness Christ offers. Balance isn't being just one thing all the time, unless that one thing is a child of God- encompassing all the ways God calls you. And Thanks be to God for that!